English Channel, English Channel Swim, Cameron, Cameron Spittle, Spittle, Australian, Swim, English Channel Swimmers, Training, Videos, Photos,

"Nothing great is easy"


Inscription on the monument to Matthew Webb


Quick Facts

How many people have completed a solo swim? There have been 1099 swimmers who have completed a solo crossing. This number will increase during the channel swimming season. 

How far is it? 
The distance of the English Channel is 34km (21 miles) from the White Cliffs of Dover at Shakespeare Beach, England to Cap Gris-Nez in France. I will most likely swim approximately 40km, as the tides will push me from side to side. My path from England to France will probably look like the letter 'S'. 

How cold is the water? 
The water temperature will be 15-17c. 

What other obstacles are there? 
The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Every day about 500 boats pass through and across it, including super tankers. All boats are frequently alerted over the radio whenever there are swimmers in the water. It is the responsibility of my boat pilot to steer me away from boats.

WHO has made it before?
LIVE boat traffic


It all started in 1872 when JB Johnson tried to swim the Channel, but failed, abandoning his attempt after 1 hour and 3 minutes. Reading of his exploits, Captain Webb (1848-1883) became inspired to try it. Serving as captain of the steamship Emerald, he began training in 1873. On 12 August 1875, he made his first attempt, but was defeated by strong winds and poor sea conditions. Less than two weeks later, on 24 August 1875, covered in porpoise oil, he dived into the Channel from the Admiralty Pier at Dover. Although he was stung by jellyfish, and strong currents kept him off the French coast for five hours, he finally landed at Calais, recording a time of 21 hours 45 minutes. 

On 24 July 1883, tempted by a prize of £12,000, he attempted to swim across the Niagara River below the Niagara Falls, but was swept away by the currents and drowned. A memorial to Captain Webb stands on Dover seafront. 

Since then, interest has grown in Channel swimming, and there is always a waiting list of people booking places with pilots from the Channel Swimming Association and the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation in the hope of adding their names to the list of those who achieve it. So far, 1099 swimmers have made a total of 1520 solo crossings.

Captain Matthew Webb - the first man to swim the English Channel in 1875


Queen of the Channel
 Alison Streeter MBE, who lives in Dover, and has made 43 successful crossings.

King of the English Channel Kevin Murphy, who has made 34 successful crossings. 
Fastest Crossing Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria), England to France in six hours, 57 minutes and 50 seconds on 24 August 2007. 
Fastest Woman Yvetta Hlavacova (Czech Republic) seven hours, 25 minutes and 15 seconds on 5 August 2006. 
Oldest George Brunstad, 70 years 4 days, (USA) 15 hours 59 minutes, 2004. 
First Man Captain Matthew Webb, 21 hours 45 minutes, 24 August 1875. 
First Woman Gertrude Ederle (USA), 6 August 1926. 
Fastest Two-Way Solo Woman Susie Maroney (Australia), 17 hours 14 minutes, 1991. 
Fastest Two-Way Solo, France/England/France Phil Rush (New Zealand), 20 hours 26 minutes, 1987. 
Fastest Three-Way Solo Phil Rush (New Zealand), 28 hours 21 minutes, 1987

Gertrude Ederle - the first woman to swim the channel in 1926.

Notable First Crossings

7 January 1785             Hot air balloon

10 June 1821                Paddle Steamer
27 March 1899              Radio transmission   

23 August 1910             Flight with passengers
14 June 2004                Crossing in amphibious vehicle
31 July 2003                 Crossing in a 32km long free-fall using a wingsuit
26 September 2008       First crossing with a jet-pack

12 March 2010              First crossing by water skiing
28 May 2010                 First crossing by helium balloon

Channel Blessing (for Mum)

May the neap tides embrace you gently in its arms, 
turning not its face of rage upon you. 
May you be a faithful pilgrim of the sea
continuing to cross 'the old ditch' with style and fearlessness.

May your limbs be strong 
and your breath be even.
May the rhythm of your stoke be smooth
And your spirit high

May the sea lay calm before you
and the wind and tide at your back
and the Lord hold you safely
in the hollow of his hand

And above all remember, 
"Nothing great is easy". 

English Channel, English Channel Swim, Cameron, Cameron Spittle, Spittle, Australian, Swim, English Channel Swimmers, Training, Videos, Photos,